Senate Committee on Finance introduce legislation to recover fraudulent COVID-19 benefits
This legislation would establish the COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force to investigate instances of fraud in the temporary unemployment insurance programs established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security Act in March of 2020, and would require the Task Force to report back to Congress on its findings.
“Americans deserve to know where their hard-earned tax dollars are going, plain and simple,” said Thune in a statement. “Unfortunately, substantial amounts of fraudulent payments have been made through the COVID-19 unemployment insurance programs. This commonsense legislation would improve current federal efforts to recover these fraudulent payments and hold those at fault responsible.”
The Task Force will also provide insight into the amount of fraudulent unemployment insurance payments that have been recovered since the establishment of these programs and the number of individuals who have been prosecuted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Axios reported in June 2021 that more than $400 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims had potentially been issued through the COVID-19 unemployment insurance programs. In addition, the Foundation for Government Accountability also estimated in June 2021 that the total amount of fraud through these unemployment programs could surpass $300 billion.
The Task Force will have one year to compile the results of the findings and submit it to Congress wit recommendations for action that has been determined appropriate.